Bullards and Crystal Hermitage at Ananda

painting #1 on Arches 140# quarter sheet

I was trying for a landscape with minimal detail, just enough to give the viewer the essence of the scene. At first I wasn’t too happy with it but the more I look at it, I believe that I reached my goal. I am trying for that happy medium where I don’t needle my paintings to death with superfluous detail.

Tulips at the Crystal Hermitage at Ananda Village

I wanted to plein air paint at this beautiful local gardens before the tulip season is finished. This is last year’s post about this beautiful place  Glorius Tulips at Crystal Hermitage . I am planning to visit here throughout the year because they do have the gardens open for visitors year round.


Aren’t these beautiful? I love it at Ananda. When I lived with my Mom and Sister back in the 1980’s I often would hike up the road and visit Ananda Village. I still love the area and the people.


painting #2 My first painting at Ananda

I was fretting a bit about painting flowers, because I generally don’t practice with them enough. I decided to keep it loose and fancy free. I might bring in some more darks to bring out the centers but basically I want to keep it loose.


painting #3

I almost abandoned this painting because I have the tendency to freak out when I can’t see where I am going with a painting. But, I pressed in and was determined to get something out of the experience. Happy to say, I ended up liking it rather than hating it. I am unsure if it is finished or not. Plein air is suppose to be not detailed to death and I want to keep the freshness and resist the need to noodle it to endless detail.


Peaceful Beauty

If you ever get up to the Nevada City/North San Juan area, take the time to go see the gardens at Ananda, especially during the tulip blooming season which is typically March-April or early May.


*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.





North Valley to the Mountains


painting #1 on Fabriano soft press 300# 11 x 14 inches

I have painted this a few times before Busy with Landscapes and this one I like the best: Glory Be!  I have been going through a general dislike of my paintings but I know that I go through this cycle every month or so and it will pass, thank goodness!


painting #2 on Arches  140# rough 11 x 14 inches

This painting was from a reference photo that I took from my adventure with my brother to go see Bear Valley in Glenn County in the north valley here in Northern California. This place was amazing because of all the rain we received, the land breathed with moisture. I have never seen green as I did on that trip. Most of the roads were dirt or gravel and ranches were everywhere.


Bear Valley in Glenn Co. California

I saw something that I have never seen before and my brother had to point it out to me. Along the fence were two coyotes who had been shot and strung up, apparently this is suppose to be a deterrent to other coyotes. My husband told me that he remembers seeing this as a youngster on the school bus passing a ranch in Nevada County.


Acid green hills!


painting #3 on Arches 140# rough 11 x 14 inches

Last but not least, a view of the North Yuba river in Sierra County. Now onto other paintings and hopefully I’ll get into a better frame of mind with the next paintings.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.









A Touch of Gold

Along Shenanigan Flat aka Canyon Creek Trail on Arches 140# 11 x 14 inches

I won’t be able to paint or post for almost a week so I will be missing in action. My husband and I will be celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary on the 11th and will be staying for a few days on the Mendocino coast. Of course we are in the midst of one of the biggest storms that California has experienced in a decade!

My reference photo

I had more fun painting this. I have been finding that using a rigger brush helps with keeping things exciting and loose and especially with those trees. I didn’t want excessive detail and brought out only what I thought would help the painting. I plan on buying a larger liner though because the one that I do have is kind of small. I got the idea of using a rigger brush from watching Sandra Lynn Strohschein paint in her videos.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

Making Do During a Snowstorm


wip of the Sierra Buttes
The top painting is one that I started a week ago and am taking a slow process completing it. I have yet decided to call it finished.
My reference photo for the painting above
on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches


wip on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches
wip on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches
wip on Arches 140# rough
The above paintings were painted while I was stuck indoors without power during a big snowstorm.  I decided to haul my watercolor equipment down into the living room next to the north window and the woodstove. I used several plein air pastel paintings to use for my reference.
I would like to know if anyone else has trouble with their WP account. I have the most difficult time putting my post together. I can’t hardly change anything here or even copy and paste. I am so close to letting it go because it is so frustrating. Any ideas?


One of my pastel plein air that I used for a reference.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.



Snowy North Yuba River


View of the Sierra Buttes from Hwy 49

I wanted to get out to paint en plein air before the next coming storm. When people think of California they think of beaches and the lack of snow. Ha! well, I live in an area that snow is readily available if it isn’t snowing at my house, it is snowing somewhere close by. This location is about 35 miles from my house and the road leading up to the Sierra Buttes is routinely shut down for the winter and opened to snowmobilers and snow sports enthusiasts. It is a personal pet peeve of mine that people have this conception that California is always sunny and short sleeved weather even in winter. With that complaint off from my shoulders, let’s proceed to my painting.


My scene along the river

After this painting experience I am convinced that I don’t like trudging through deep snow with my heavy pastel equipment. Either I have to make it lighter and more compact, or find a scene to paint from the road. I didn’t even bother with setting up my easel and painted holding my board. Not the best decision for me especially when I have trouble with my hands.


My painting – soft pastel on PastelMat

I had completed my painting to about 75% and finished it up in the studio.

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Along the North Yuba Trail

I decided to take a hike on one of my favorite trails and reflect on painting and my experience today. I felt very much dissatisfied that I came away with only one painting but I decided to shake it off because I was able to paint regardless of how many or the quality. I also came away with over 300 photos to work from. All in all, it was a good day in Northern California.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.



I’m Back!


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Foggy November Morning

After taking an entire month off from blogging, I am ready to come back, slowly that is. I found that I enjoyed having some time away from the pressure of blogging. I think that I have a sensible plan on how to proceed in my coming months of blogging. First of all I am thinking that sometimes I push paintings  to a finish in order to post them. I will not be doing that, so you’ll see that I’ll post not as often. December will be an easy going month in regards to my getting back to blogging, in other words, I am treating the month as a semi retreat.

These are some of the paintings that I worked on this past month. Some of either close to finishing or needing more work. I really have learned that I am not going to push paintings to a finish as I have in the past. I can’t entirely blame this bad habit on blogging but my insistence that I have to have an end product…now!

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I enjoyed working on these in the studio I had a few problems here and there but isn’t that pretty normal?


Semi-abstract of oak trees along the North Yuba Trail


Reflection at Little Bear Lake 

I have quite a bit of work yet to do with this one, a wip and that’s alright.




Trees on the Bear Lakes Trail


wip semi-abstract of mossy trees


wip of the North Yuba


wip of mossy trees on the Bear Lakes loop trail

The above painting is about 30% washed out, the colors are far more vivid than they appear in this photo

Now for some abstracts! Below:


Abstract #1


abstract #2
I had a bit of trouble trying to get this post put together, I was hoping to number the paintings but WP is acting a little odd and as I tried to number them, it was really messing up my layout. I will upload this before I lose it!





















Goose Lake in Sierra County


My scene-Goose Lake

My daughter and I and her dog took a hike up at where I had gone before Bear Lakes Loop- World Watercolor Month #2 but instead of taking the fork that proceeded onto the Bear lakes I wanted to explore the loop that goes to Round Lake. To shorten this story, we ended up hiking up a mountain and went “around” Round Lake. We headed back and I painted at Goose Lake along Lakes Basin Recreational area.


painting #1 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

My warm-up went better than I thought it  would being it was my first one. I used a flat rather than my usual squirrel mop. I love to abstract my paintings, you can see it in this one especially with the foreground rocks and the trees in the background.


painting #2 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

I could for the life of me to get my photo to marry up with the correct yellow in my painting. It is not as acid yellow and blotchy as you see here. I struggled at first with this and it wasn’t until later that it grew on me. I don’t know what it is but today I fought with the painting process,  I wanted my painting to go a certain way and when I do this, I get either frustrated or doubtful and I was doing both this time around.


painting #3 on Arches 300# 7 x 9 inches

While trying to edit this photo, I lost the wonderful warmth of the middle part of that headland but know that it is a warm yellow/red color. I initially didn’t like how muddy the water looked in this painting but truthfully that is how dark it looked when the wind wasn’t whipping up the water. In a way this lake and the surrounding area reminded me of the marshlands of Alabama.


On the trail to Round Lake


Fall colors in this alpine area

I might try to hike out to the Bear Lakes in a couple of weeks to try to paint once again, we’ll see if the weather holds out.

Learning Points:

  • Trust the painting process, be willing to let go and not control every aspect of the painting journey.
  • Push the fear and doubt that rises up while painting, it gets in the way of creativity.
  • Don’t judge while painting, the critical kind of judging, that is.

Rain is in the forecast for the next three days which means I won’t be able to get out and plein air paint. Next Wednesday will be clear and I have plans to paint. Get out there and see and experience nature, you will not be disappointed.



*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.








Yuba Love at Shenanigan Flat

on Saunders 200#

My son-in-law had set up a rope system to enable me to safely access this part of the river about two weeks ago Shenanigans at Shenanigan Flat and I can say that it worked well and in fact there is evidence that it is being used by other people besides myself.

There is change in the weather and I love it here at the river. I was able to paint till 12 noon I am amazed because usually by 9 or 10 am, the light is not that beautiful and it is over and done.

My scene for the above painting


One of my warm-up paintings on Arches 140# rough

I was having a difficult time with this painting but decided to include it just to show you a warm-up that was rough going.

on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches

This stack of rocks is quite unusual because it looks like an Italian dessert. My artist eyes were starting to come in, finally!

My scene of that very cool rock
on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches

this painting has its’ problems such as that little rapid showing at the middle, too sharp and not very well done. I couldn’t get the photo to show the light violet in those back rocks. The photo doesn’t do the painting justice but oh well, the task of marrying up the photo to the painting is often difficult.

My scene
on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I wasn’t going to include this painting but decided why not? I consider it a fail because I had such a difficult time with the water and depicting the white water. I enjoyed the painting of it though I just couldn’t get the water to come together as cohesive.

My scene

I have discovered that I didn’t bring by Burnt Sienna so I relied on my Daniel Smith Burnt Tiger’s Eye and I must say, I am in love! I think when it is mixed with Lunar Blue it is exquisite! Yummy color. I plan on coming back and knocking this scene out of the ball park one of these days. Here I tried painting this scene the first time: North Yuba River-Shenanigan Flat I am not sure which one session won. Looking forward to more times on the Yuba river.

I love the Yuba River, can you tell?













Shenanigans at Shenanigan Flat


Isn’t that pretty? Sometimes I don’t think that my fellow bloggers realize how I access these beautiful scenes that I paint at. At this particular spot, I have been go down a steep trail often grabbing trees for stability. I pick my way down very carefully and often I worry that I might go sliding down the hill! So, I had this great idea that I could have my industrious son-in-law, Luis install a rope system for me. He is a tree climber and knows life saving knots and rope systems. Who else to call upon to help me?

Luis working hard being “knotty”

I love this area and I am hoping that now I can safely access my favorite location in order to paint during the winter as well. See you all down at the river!

Humbug Creek Love and the One That Got Away

Fabriano #300 11 x 14 inches

I love this area and I think if I could easily paint every week for a year and still have something to explore and paint at this location. I started out painting perched on a rock in a middle of a spot that is called “Maytag” because of the force of the river and the arrangement of the rocks. I had to keep alert. If you are wondering why the title ‘The One That Got Away’, well, I lost a painting of Maytag. I think it was a good one but after changing my spot to paint three times, I inadvertently lost it, this morning it dawned on me that I had lost a painting! Yes, I know, how can that happen?

Humbug Creek, my scene for the painting above
Maytag, the scene of the missing painting
on Saunders #200 11 x 14

I wasn’t very happy with this painting, the only area that I like is the rocks on the bottom right. I had difficulty with the rocks all along both banks and the river itself. I need to practice rapids because it was so difficult depicting them. That blue in the background is too chalky looking and not correct. Here is a better depiction of this same scene last week that I like better North Yuba river and Humbug Creek Confluence. I suppose that each session is different, all experience under my belt.

Leaf tranquility

I took over 460 photos on this plein air trip, can you imagine? Love this spot, so beautiful. If any of you are in my neck of the woods and can physically manage it, look me up and we can go paint together. I will always venture out year round as long as it doesn’t rain or snow on me.

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Rocks at Humbug Creek

Learning Points:

  • Safely tuck paintings away when dry.
  • Practice rapids or falls, study the masters of this unique feature.
  • Don’t become so enthralled with the painting process that I forget composition or value elements.